Monday, July 6, 2009

Horse property PICTURES!!!

We saw this horse property tonight, and I am in love!

It is nothing super special. The house is average, and while it is in pretty good shape, it also needs updates in the kitchen and bathroom. But the property itself is lovely. I am in love!

For starters, the house is a ranch built in 1941. It's been advertised as a three-bedroom, but really it's a two-bedroom with a lovely enclosed-porch-turned-office on the back of the house. The layout of the property, a long narrow lot with the house spanning it at the front, and the landscaping, which is a little overgrown, make the property feel extremely private.

The first house in our horse property search

The house also has an attached two-car garage, which seems like such a luxury to me now, after having NO garage for so long.

The first house in our horse property search

The house has a nice layout, with the living room, dining room, kitchen, and garage all across the front, and the bedrooms and office across the back.

The living room is pretty good sized for an old house, and has a fireplace with a pretty paneled mantle:

The first house in our horse property search

The dining room is also big enough to hold my lovely antique 6-seater dining table, buffet, and chairs (all matching). We don't have room for it here, so the table has been banished to the basement for the past two years. There is also a cute little linen closet in the dining room that I just LOVE. It has built-in drawers and everything. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good picture of this room, so I'll have to leave it to your imagination.

The kitchen needs a new countertop pretty badly. The cupboards are old but would look fine if the countertop wasn't so ugly and dark.

The bathroom has a scary tub. Eventually we'd have to replace that, and in the meantime, no more baths! I'd miss my claw foot tub — if I stopped playing with my horse for long enough to notice, that is.

The first house in our horse property search

Now for the cool bits. First of all, the third "bedroom" that would be my office. You enter it through a single French door in the second bedroom...

The first house in our horse property search

...Or through a paneled door in the kitchen that is cut in half so that you can shut the bottom half and leave the top half open. The room is several steps lower than the rest of the house, and there's a little closet behind the stairs.

The first house in our horse property search

It's a big room, but the best part is that the east wall is almost completely glass: double French doors and two picture windows. They look onto the patio, the yard, and the little horse pasture beyond that.

The first house in our horse property search

The first house in our horse property search

The back yard is big and shady, with trees and overgrown landscaping that make it feel very private. Just beyond that is the pasture.

The first house in our horse property search

The horse pasture is pretty decent sized, and feels fairly private, since the house and the layout of the property block the sound of the road. The barn has two good-sized stalls (with two doors apiece — someone apparently took out a few walls to make bigger stalls!), another small "stall" that would really only be good for some sort of storage, and a large enclosed area for hay and tack storage. The hay and tack storage is the big part on the left end of the barn.

The first house in our horse property search

The house that overlooks the pasture doesn't seem like it would be intrusive, as there is a privacy fence there and only one second-story window really overlooks the pasture.

The first house in our horse property search

There is also a well on the property that doesn't seem to be working right now, but we might be able to get that fixed further on down the road! The water pump in the barn would also need to be fixed, but in the meantime I could keep the horse's water at the fence closest to the house, and run a hose from the house. The barn has ceiling fixtures and is all wired up, though that appears to need some attention as well.

The back fence is really too low to be horse fencing, but since the property is narrow that should be an easy fix. Other than that, there is mainly just a few cleaning and maintenance things that need to be done.

Despite the things that need to be fixed, I think the house has a lot of charm — such as that paneled mantle, lovely old glass doorknobs and brass hardware on all the doors, and that gorgeous office/den/sunroom/third bedroom. And the horse property of course is to die for: The layout and the landscaping create a feeling of privacy from your neighbors, as well as a clear distinction between "horse space" and "our space" — boundaries that will blur a bit, I'm sure, as I plan on letting them graze on the lawn from time to time, but even so it's a nice distinction to be able to make.

So Michael and I now have a lot to discuss. He's concerned about his drive to work being longer (35 to 40 minutes instead of 15 to 20), and we both want to check into the neighborhood a bit more. Another concern both of us share is what to do with our current home — it's not really a good time to try to sell a house, and I'm not a big fan of the thought of being landlords, though I think I could deal with it for the chance to stop boarding.

We also have to discuss whether we'll board Michael's mother's horses, or someone else's. I don't want to try to keep Panama all by himself — he's young and social and I don't think he'd like that very much. But I'm also not ready to get another horse. We've discussed the possibility of Michael's parents renting our house and boarding their horses with us, but we're not sure how reliable they'd be on paying their rent, so that might not be the best option. Also, boarding someone else's horses could provide us with a bit of additional income, and our current neighborhood would make this a great rental house for a couple of college students.

What are your thoughts — on the property, on boarding other people's horses, on renting or selling our current home? I'd love to hear what you think about the situation!



At July 7, 2009 at 7:33 AM, Anonymous Jackie said...

That place so cute is almost makes me want to keep Ace at home! I generally prefer boarding. I like the freedom that comes with it, and having other horse people to be around. Of course, I've been fortunate enough to have very positive boarding experiences. My husband and I are just about to close on our first home, and everyone keeps asking me if I'm going to keep my horse there. Nope! These pictures almost make me wish I was though.

From what you've said about your current boarding situation, I would want to get Panama out of there as well. It would be nice to have complete control over his care.

As far as taking on boarders, it's a good idea from the perspectives of extra income and having company for Panama. Just be very choosy about who you take on. Find someone who is responsible, respectful, and has similar ideas about horse care and training. They are going to be coming to your home on a regular basis, and you want it to be your own little paradise and not a problem. Find someone you can trust and who is willing to care for the horses when you go out of town for a weekend or on vacation, or in case of emergency.

I currently board my horse at a friend's house. It's great because it doesn't cost as much, we get along well, and because we help each other out and have each others' backs. Those things are so much more important when you bring a horse or two to your private residence.

At July 7, 2009 at 7:49 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Well, I've never owned a home, so I can't speak much about that other than to encourage you to get a home inspection. Certain problems can turn out to be a nightmare and suck up all your money and time. The water problems worry me. We had our well pump break several years ago and couldn't shower, drink, boil anything, wash our hands, do anything with water for several days. We've been worried about the water table getting too low and having to pay $10,000 - $20,000 to get the well dug deeper since it happened to all of our neighbors. Each time they build another subdivision nearby, we lose several feet of water. On the other hand, we like being on a well because we aren't tied to the water district restrictions of only watering 3 days a week in the summer months. My pasture would die if I only watered 3 days a week.

I would look at as many houses as you can, even if they don't fit your criteria. I know horse property can be especially hard to find, but if you look around you'll educate yourselves and probably learn that you wanted things you didn't know you wanted, and you didn't want things you thought you wanted. I like the house and it's park-like setting. Since you spend so much time with Panama, I know the outdoors is just as important as the house.

At July 7, 2009 at 10:31 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...


It IS cute, isn't it? :o) Thanks for the advice on boarders. I totally agree about making sure it is someone I can get along with. I was thinking about asking a friend of mine from an old barn to board with us, but then I found she recently lost her horse. :o( Very sad.

I do have to say, though, that in my experience probably about 90 percent of horse owners DON'T visit their horses all that often. It's sad, but amazing how many barns I've been at where I never meet the other boarders, because they are just never there. While I don't really want a boarder that forgets their horse exists, it's actually pretty likely that I won't have to worry about them visiting very often.


Oh, yes, we'll definitely have an inspection done! Don't worry about the well too much -- it's only a bonus water source, since the house is in town and on the city water. It doesn't break my heart if we can't get it going, because I wasn't even thinking we'd find a place with one. They're not that common in town.

We've looked at tons of horse property online, even though this is only the first (well, technically the second -- I'll explain later) we've seen in person. Trust me, this has everything I knew I wanted from boarding at private properties and browsing horse properties online.

The thing about this property is, we could afford it NOW -- whereas with the real estate prices in Denver, we'd probably have to wait a few years before we could afford anything else. The only way to find anything this price is to go out of the Metro area, which Michael doesn't want to do because he doesn't like the longer drive -- OR the weather to the east of the city, which is on the edge of the high plains, and very windy.

Hopefully you can see why both of us think this house is a chance in a million. Of course, we might change our minds after an inspection is done -- we'll see!

At July 7, 2009 at 2:47 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

The place is really cute! a lot of potential there.
I wouldnt worry so much about having Panama by his self. They do fine, and it gives you and him more bonding time, without the worry of the rest of the "herd" sometimes it can be better for your relationship with him to remove some distractions for awhile, maybe not forever but it does help with a young one sometimes. Good luck!!

At July 7, 2009 at 3:56 PM, Blogger Irreverent Freelancer said...

Okay, it's not a Victorian, but I love it too--especially the enclosed porch/office. In all of the house plans I am looking at, I'm aiming for a sunroom. I just think a bright, sunny space is much more conduicive to getting work done. On the other hand, since it overlooks Panama, it might distract you? I think now is the time to make the purchase, even if it means playing landlord on your old property for a year or so. Once housing prices pick up, you can sell, but you might not be able to afford horse property then. I would caution you, however, to carefully think over renting to family. It's easy to kick out someone you don't know when they don't pay, but it's really hard to do that to family members!

At July 7, 2009 at 4:10 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

LOL -- yes, Kathy, the view of my horse will probably be pretty distracting at first, but I think I can learn some self-control. ;o) After all, if I don't get my work done, I can't afford to feed him, right?

Very good advice regarding renting to the family. Definitely something we'll need to take under consideration. Same goes for boarding their horses, I think.

Also, good points about housing prices. This might be our best chance to get into horse property! Especially at such a great price!

At July 7, 2009 at 4:13 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Pam, I'm not worried about leaving him alone for a short period of time so much -- weeks or even a few months -- as I know it would be a good way to strengthen our bond and that kind of thing. Over the long term, though, I really don't want to leave him alone. I honestly think he'd be miserable, and as much as I want to, I can't spend enough time with him to make up for a missing herd.

A friend and I were talking about it today, though, and we hit on the idea of me fostering a rescued horse or donkey for one of the local non-profits. Might be a good way to give Panama some company without the responsibility of owning right now!

At July 7, 2009 at 8:06 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Katharine, cute place! I hope it works out for you, it would be great to have your horse at your own place. I was thinking about a companion for Panama, what about the little donkey in the picture on your banner? Gilly loves his donkey buddy!
~Jane and Gilly~

At July 7, 2009 at 8:33 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I'd like to find Cuervo, but my in-laws sold him. I'm still trying to find out where he is now. If I can find him, who knows if they'll even sell him back to me. But if we get that place, I will try!

At July 8, 2009 at 2:24 PM, Blogger susana said...

Looks great,really practical for all your needs,especially the office.
As you have been searching a while and have fallen in love with this one,you should follow your heart and instinct and go for the survey and take it from there.
Such a good idea to track down Cuervo as well.
Good luck with everything.

At July 8, 2009 at 3:55 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks Susana. I was having doubts but after visiting Panama today I remembered why it is that I want to be in charge of the care for my own horse! We're going to drive around and check out the neighborhood tomorrow evening -- Michael wants to be sure it's a good neighborhood before we commit to anything.

At July 9, 2009 at 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At July 9, 2009 at 12:45 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Anonymous, please don't spam my blog. It doesn't take a genius to look up the WHOIS information and see that two of those URLs are owned by the same person, and two others are private registration (so probably are owned by the same person as well). If you want to promote your websites with spammy comments, you won't be doing it on MY blog!

At July 16, 2009 at 12:03 AM, Anonymous teguh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At July 16, 2009 at 6:15 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Seriously. Why does a post on horse property invite so much frickin' spam?!

At April 4, 2010 at 4:08 AM, Blogger BAYSIDE PET CENTRE said...

Did you buy the property?

At June 20, 2010 at 11:21 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

No, we didn't end up buying the property. It turned out in my favor, though, as I love where I am boarding my horse now!


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